Five minutes with Michael Caines:two Michelin-star chef and former head at Gidleigh Park country house hotel

The two Michelin-star chef from the acclaimed Gidleigh Park country house hotel and restaurant on Dartmoor in Devon, discusses simple flavours, fresh seafood - and the importance of owning a garlic crusher.

What would you make for yourself for a simple evening meal?
I love to eat lighter and healthier in the summer - lots of salads with grilled salmon or chicken. I’ll often add some new potatoes on the side, seasoned with fresh herbs such as mint and basil.

I’m a huge fan of seafood so I eat a lot of prawns, scallops and mackerel - just simply fried with a little olive oil.

What is your favourite kitchen utensil/gadget?
I can’t live without a garlic crusher, both at home and in the restaurant kitchen. But I also rely heavily on my Magimix food processor - it makes chopping and preparing pasta sauces so much easier.

A taste of southern Italy: seafood tagliatelle with chilli and white wine, a Caines favourite from his own book

What is your favourite recipe from your cookbook?
A particular favourite of mine is tagliatelle with clams, cockles, mussels, cherry tomatoes, chilli, coriander and basil. It’s so simple and quick to make but full of flavour.

The one item or ingredient that you’re currently obsessed with?
I always use seasonal ingredients so at this time of year I'm particularly focused on strawberries. They're such a quintessential British summer food and work perfectly in a mousse. I like to use the pulp with some gelatine and then add Italian meringue and cream.

Your favourite London restaurant?
Zuma is a superb Japanese restaurant in Knightsbridge. I don’t cook Japanese food so I don’t have to judge it as such. I can just enjoy it for what it is – fantastic, tasty food.

How to do you approach your own diet?
I try to eat as healthily as possible, so typically I'll have a bowl of porridge with fresh fruit in the morning to kick-start the day. Something simple for lunch - you can’t beat a good sandwich or a bowl of pasta, uncomplicated but always satisfying. I try to eat dinner as early as possible and not make it too carb-heavy.

More from Michael Caines:

Michael Caines is heading up the On 5 Restaurant at Royal Ascot which runs from June 16 - 20. Tickets available from

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